For local businesses, a solid brand represents their identity, values, and commitment to their consumers. It stands as a differentiator in competitive markets, to foster recognition, trust, and loyalty. It is not just a name, logo, or tagline, but a holistic mix of these visual and perceptual elements that collectively create a unique impression in the mind of the customer. Today, branding has grown to permeate online platforms like Facebook, Bing, and Apple Maps. This can have many benefits as well as drawbacks. Projecting a consistent brand identity across these digital channels is imperative.
The Rise Of Online Platforms and The Brand Stack
As websites became destinations and amassed users, they became platforms with their own ecosystems. Platforms like Facebook, Google, Bing, and Apple have matured and included pages for individual businesses within their systems. These allow businesses to express their brand within the platform, but the brands don’t own those pages; the platforms own them and can take them away.
I like to refer to these four essential online platforms as The Brand Stack. It’s a crucial element in local business marketing, and it can help small businesses increase their online presence, attract new customers, and foster strong relationships with existing ones. This article will explore how the Brand Stack can benefit local businesses and provide guidance on utilizing these platforms effectively.
- Google Business Profile – Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, is a powerful tool that allows businesses to manage their presence on Google Search and Maps. Creating a detailed Google Business Profile can help local businesses:
- Increase visibility in local search results.
- Share important business information, such as hours of operation, contact details, and location.
- Showcase positive customer reviews and ratings.
- Post updates and promotions directly on their Google Business Profile.
- To get started with Google Business Profile, businesses should claim and verify their listing, complete their profile with accurate information, and encourage customers to leave reviews.
- Facebook Business Page – A Facebook Business Page is an essential social media platform that enables local businesses to connect with their target audience. By creating a Facebook Business Page, businesses can:
- Share updates, promotions, and events.
- Engage with customers through direct messages or comments.
- Utilize targeted advertising to reach potential customers.
- Integrate with other marketing tools, such as Instagram and WhatsApp.
- To make the most of their Facebook Business Page, local businesses should regularly post engaging content, respond to customer inquiries, and use Facebook Insights to analyze their page’s performance.
- Bing Location Pages – While Google dominates the search engine market, Bing still commands a significant share of searches. Bing Location Pages offer local businesses another opportunity to increase their online visibility. To make the most of Bing Location Pages, businesses should:
- Claim and verify their listing on Bing Places for Business.
- Provide up-to-date and accurate business information.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews on Bing.
- Utilize Bing Ads for targeted advertising.
- Apple Maps for Business Pages – Apple Maps is the default mapping application for millions of iPhone users. Apple Maps for Business Pages allows businesses to claim their listing, ensuring their information is accurate and up-to-date. To optimize their presence on Apple Maps, businesses should:
- Claim their Apple Maps listing through Apple Maps Connect.
- Provide essential business information, such as hours of operation, contact details, and location.
- Encourage customers to leave reviews and ratings on Apple Maps.
Maximize Your Brand Stack for Local Marketing Benefit
The Brand Stack, comprised of Google Business Profile, Facebook Business Page, Bing Location Pages, and Apple Maps for Business Pages, offers local businesses a powerful combination of online platforms to maximize their visibility and customer engagement. By leveraging these tools effectively, local businesses can strengthen their online presence, attract new customers, and create lasting connections with their existing clientele. It’s time to embrace the Brand Stack and unlock the full potential of your local business.
Furthermore, a well-defined brand aids in marketing efforts to attract potential employees who align with the business values, and can often command a premium price, significantly contributing to the overall business success and longevity.